Groundbreaking Program to Help Underserved Cancer Patients

The Ronnie Lippin Cancer Support and Navigation Project, in Partnership with Tower Cancer Research Foundation, to be initiated at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles 

Cancer continues to be one of humanities scourges and an ongoing conundrum. Various initiatives have emanated from the entertainment industry, including the Teenage Cancer Trust which Roger Daltrey spearheads.

Now comes word about an initiative helping all patients facing cancer. With a focus on those patients who do not have the resources or ability to pilot their way through the tremendous clinical and administrative burdens of a cancer journey, The Ronnie Lippin Cancer Support and Navigation Project has been launched. In partnership with Tower Cancer Research Foundation, this lifesaving initiative is now moving forward at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

A groundbreaking project that will provide a host of essential non-clinical cancer navigation and coordination services that eliminate obstacles to timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer, the goal of the program is to improve cancer-related outcomes for underserved cancer patients. The project will focus on reducing barriers for underrepresented sexual, gender, financial, racial and ethnic minority community members, who are either at risk of being diagnosed with cancer, or patients who have already been diagnosed with cancer, and their loved ones. Cancer navigators will offer tailored science-based cancer information, education, navigation, support resources and access to care.

“One of the most agonizing times in my life was when Ronnie, my wife, was diagnosed with cancer,” Dick Lippin, Trustee of The Lippin Family Trust stated. “There was so much I did not know about dealing with cancer and I realized if I felt this way so many others must be experiencing it as well. When Ronnie passed, I had the good fortune of being introduced to Tower Cancer Research Foundation and now the project we envisioned will be implemented by one of the country’s finest medical institutions, Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Our goal is to help as many people as possible, lacking the resources and capabilities, who now can use this program as a guiding hand through extremely challenging times.”  

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, during her three-decade career, Ronnie Lippin worked with some of the most prominent names in the music business. She co-managed Brian Wilson (with Jean Sievers) and was a publicist for Prince, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Stephen Stills, Peter Frampton, Michael McDonald, Olivia Newton-John, the Captain & Tennille, Cliff Richard and Fourplay, among others. Other clients included the Bee Gees, Elton John, Neil Sedaka, the Who, James Taylor and Andy Gibb.

Ronnie Lippin

Brian Wilson offered one of the most poignant tributes to Ronnie when he said, “In my career, I’ve worked with only a few people who I can say that I both love as a person and as a manager. Ronnie was at the top of the list. She really loved music and artists. Most importantly, she was just such a good person. God only knows why she’s been taken all too soon.”

The press release announcing the Project indicates that critical importance of services to help patients and their families navigate health care treatments for cancer was recently underscored via the announcement earlier this year from President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden that they have prioritized supportive services for people who are touched by cancer, including through championing the importance of patient navigation services.

Funded by Tower Cancer Research Foundation through a grant from The Lippin Family Trust, The Ronnie Lippin Cancer Support and Navigation Project at Cedars strives to be easily accessible and help a host of community members who are underserved based on a variety of factors. These may include race, ethnic background, sexual and gender minority, legal status, education level, faith or belief system, socioeconomic group, age, physical barriers, literacy and late-stage cancer. In particular, the project will target geographic areas and groups that experience higher incidence of late stage diagnosis, including the Latinx, LGBTQ+, Korean, Filipino, Black and immigrant communities.  Project cancer navigators, including a Latinx navigator and a LGBTQ+ navigator, will focus on assisting patients and their families at any stage along the cancer continuum, from screening, diagnosis, treatment, post-treatment and survivorship, all the way to end of life care.

The press release concludes by pointing out that ultimately, The Ronnie Lippin Cancer Support and Navigation Project aims to reduce cancer disparities in our communities through decreasing barriers to prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment in underserved populations. These efforts will hopefully improve access to cancer care, thereby lessening cancer morbidity and mortality for people impacted by cancer or at risk of developing cancer in these communities.

In other words, simply magnificent.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.